Four fishermen were wounded and two boats damaged when an Israeli naval force opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats while fishing in the Mediterranean Sea opposite Rafah this morning, witnesses said.
Witnesses said the Israeli navy opened fire at the boats, which fled. The navy then used heavy weapons to damage the boats after they reached land.
Palestinian gunmen at the coast responded to the Israeli fire and heavy shelling. The Israeli forces left after damaging at least two boats.
At first, Palestinian medical sources reported two injuries; however, after firefighters extinguished the fire on the boats, they found two people with moderate injuries.
Israeli sources claimed that the Palestinian fishing boats were travelling from Egypt’s Sinai to Gaza and they were smuggling weapons.
Fishermen refuted these claims and said that the Egyptian and Israeli navies have imposed restrictions on them since the ouster of the elected President Mohamed Morsi.
Several Palestinian fishermen have been arrested by Egyptian forces while fishing near the Egyptian borders, or when they have mistakenly travelled a few metres in to the Egyptian territories.
Israeli and Egyptian forces fire at Palestinian fishermen from time to time if they go more than a couple of hundred metres into the sea.